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Posts posted by Fi

  1. [quote user="hakunamatata"]COW MANURE - ANY MANURE - oh what I would give for some manure!!!  Yes bung it on in October and any left over bung it over here!!! I cant remember the last time I saw a cow, never mind the manure.  Lots of grapes though and olives but they dont sh**t[/quote]

    Cow Central here[:D] - pooeeee !  How much could I get in a jiffy bag?????

  2. [quote user="gardengirl "]Manure put on in autumn will indeed be fine; I learned this from geoff Hamilton's programmes.


    I thought I'd read something about just leaving a deep layer of manure over the winter - the elements do their thing, and then just dig it in Spring - couldn't find this bit of info anywhere, got beset with self-doubt, and needed reassurance - many thanks!


  3. The potager hasn't been a great success this year - At the beginning of April (still snowy here before then)  I dug out a large chunk (14m x 5m) of the meadow (euphemstically called the garden), rotivated it after the turf was removed, got out as many stones/bits of old farm machinery/bike wheels/more stones/flipping great rocks and planted it up with spuds, beans, carrots, parsnips, beetroot and pumpkins, plus a herb patch.  Herbs fine, beans lots of leaves., not may flowers/beans (would be better if the sheep hadn't had a midnight feast, and yes it is fenced, but my sheep are entering the Puissance at Olympia in December!), spuds seemed to be fine then the leaves died off completely - dug them up - small sized but a lot of blacked tubers - not nice.  Beets suffered from sheep, but what we had now pickled, carrots rubbish, parsnips ditto, leeks (2nd attempt thanks to moles) doing well, pumpkins bonkers. 

    Next year I want to be a bit more organised and I hope more successful.  In the UK I had nice raised beds made with railway sleepers, lots of lovely top soil and compost  - nothing failed.  I was very disappointed this year.[:(]

    I have organised for a lot of cow manure to be delivered which I plan to spread on the ground early October (avoiding the leeks).  Then basically leave the frost/snow/rain to do its stuff prior to planting again next April.  Is this enough or should I be doing anything else?    A lot of effort this year for a very minimal return - could do better??


  4. A rather fab Monopoly Monde game with electronic wotsit (technophobe moi?).  They haven't asked for it back, but I know it costs around 50 euros so I will be kind - eventually...... and it's only going to the Pas de Calais so not too scary postage cost-wise.

    Lots of ice creams too ( my brats in heaven), boule set, dog (please god[+o(]) turds in tissue under the bed (possibly something for another thread!)


  5. [quote user="Boiling a frog"]I agree with you that they should give up or take a chill pill but from comments made on this and other threads I suspect that the same comment could apply to many gite owners.[/quote]

    I'm still very new at this game and haven't had time to get jaded yet!   I just try and let my guests get on with their holiday with the minimum amount of "input" from me.  However, when young children arrive, their parents seem to be delighted to discover some "built-in" playmates (my mob) - I just have to guard against being used as an unpaid childminding service [:)] 


  6. [quote user="Boiling a frog"]I think that gite owners need to remember one simple fact.

    People are paying a lot of money to you hoping they are going to have an enjoyable holiday.

    Our French neighbours (gite owners) only seem to be interested in taking the money, not in providing an enjoyable experience.

    They shout at guests enjoying themselves around the pool at 10pm because they are trying to sleep .

    They do not provide any cleaning material but then complain if the gite is left unclean

    They complain if people spend all day at the pool.

    They cannot understand that people who pay 1000 euros want the swimming pool to themselves, and do not want all the French owners grandchildren in the pool at the same time as they are.

    I could go on and on but will stop at that.[/quote]

    I don't think any gite owners here are denying that people renting our properties are expecting to have a nice time.  When we set up our gites we thought long and hard about what we would want and could expect within the confines of the property, and tried to provide that for our guests.  This is why we provide a full cleaning kit/teatowels/tablecloths etc etc, and no ornaments for children to break[:)].

     However, it is up to the client to read the descriptions thoroughly, ask some pertinent questions, and apply a little commonsense both before and during their stay.  If a pool is described as being shared with the owners, chances are the owners will want to use it from time to time.  Similarly, as a gite owner who lives on site, on the very rare occasions there is a lot of noise and shouting late at night, it is disturbing and annoying for us and our neighbours and I will politely ask them to keep the noise down (haven't yet been told to bog off but I'm sure that will happen one day).  Moral of this story - a little consideration in both directions.  If the potential renters want everything to themselves, pay the premium for exclusive use of facilities and privacy.   

    It does sound though as if your neighbours should either "give up the gites" or take a chill-pill!


  7. [quote user="Jazzer"]Interesting point-you say staying in a Brit owned gite was not worth the premium. Does this mean that in general Brits charge more than the French for example? or because the French bring their own sheets,cleaning materials etc?[/quote]

    I just think that many (not all!) non-French owned gites are finished to a higher standard and offer more in the way of "services" (beds made/cleaning etc etc). 

    We are 5 (2 big, 3 small) - for a French 3 bed chalet with 1 bathroom and 2 wc, bring/hire sheets & towels, do own cleaning, free firewood and bbq supplies, French owner who said "have a great holiday, if you break something don't worry, we'll sort it out it"  was  around 400 euros a week mid May - a similar size property in the same area which was owned by Brits and had en-suites for all rooms, plus a wc, plus beds made, plus towels, white leather sofas, itsy-bitsies everywhere, plus a rule book the size of Bleak House, was 650 euros.  For us, it was a no brainer - 150 euros buys a lot of steack hache/frites and goes on the luge d'ete, and I want to relax on holiday, not worry about breaking the rules.  Before I get flattened, this was our experience and choice, and in no way is a reflection on Brit owned gites as a whole (this is probably not enough to prevent a slaying though!)


  8. [quote user="Clair"]We do not have cleaners nor do we do charge for cleaning, but we do request that the property be cleaned before departure.

    I then go through the house and do

    the necessary before the next visitors arrive.

    From my owner's experience to date, the Spanish families we have rented to have been absolutely fantastic. The property has been left spotless and I have always made a point of sending an email to thank them.


    We have an optional extra charge for cleaning (or it's diy) which so far only two people have chosen to pay.  Most people leave the place immaculate.   Then all I have to do is replenish loo rolls etc, and possibly give the windows a once-over and a bit of delving in the corners - nothing too strenuous.  There have been a couple of exceptions, but that's life.

    I think from an owner's point of view the OP seemed to be tarring us all with the same uncaring money-grubbing brush which certainly made me slightly [6], but I must be doing something right because I haven't had any truly negative feedback or justifiable complaints (cake tins notwithstanding!).  Now I've said that I'll probably be sobbing into my rose on Saturday...


  9. I do leave a bottle of the local plonk and some cheese for new guests.  Wouldn't dream of leaving half opened packets of anything (my dog does well though!).  I leave very little food-wise (I stayed in one gite where I spent the first evening emptying all the cheese/milk/butter/dead salad etc out of the fridge!).  I do offer to do some basic shopping for guests - I just put it away, leave the supermarket bill and they reimburse me.  I do provide cleaning materials and equipment - if I want people to keep the place clean, it seems logical to provide the wherewithal.  Nothing more boring than spending your holiday money on J-cloths.

    We have new everything (courtesy of IKEA), minimal itsy bitsies (mainly because life is just too short for dusting!), and I do a thorough clean every changeover (myself).  Living on site I am in a position to deal with any niggles before they turn into holiday wreckers.  However, some guests do leave a lot to be desired (and leave their commonsense at home as well) - it is a two-way street.  Still haven't recovered from the outraged Parisienne who couldn't understand why there was no heart-shaped cake tin ....[:D]

    Just wondering - what nationality have the problem gites been?   I have only ever stayed in a Brit -owned gite once - it was fine - but not worth the premium.  On reflection I would have preferred something more basic and had more money for treats.


  10. Sweets - oops sorry didn't mean to appear negative.  As a gite owner I am probably guilty of a few of the sins listed (my website isn't the best in the universe).  It just seemed to me that the OP's post was very specific about some of the issues from which I inferred that they had had a bad experience recently. 


  11. I have 2 price bands - the base tariff includes taxe de sejour and electricity only, with the the option of sheets (9 euro double bed, 7 single bed), - beds made-up on arrival, towels (5 euros bath and hand towel) and end of stay clean 40 euros.  The all-in includes all of the extras - I just add 100-120 euros onto the base tariff, depending on occupancy, and I leave a gift of Munster Geromois and some plonk too.

    Included in the base tariff are basic cleaning materials, a few bin bags, loo rolls, kitchen roll, a table cloth, 3 or 4 tea towels and a hand towel.  If any previous guests leave anything useful (e.g. washing powder) I leave it in the gite. 

    I have only had two bookings all year for sheets, one for the all-in price (and they were a family of British bikers so there were strict limiations on how much stuff they could bring).   And they were my only British booking!

    I now charge for our 4-legged friends (you may recall my previous post

    [:D]) with a 20 euro donation to SPA, and an extra 50 euros on the

    caution.  I do include dog pooh bags for dog bookings!  And strict

    instructions about acceptable dog (or rather owner) behaviour.  I hate

    being such a bossy boots but it seems I have no choice.


  12. [quote user="Dog"]

    GGRRRR looks like I won't be livin' it up in this gite....

    I'll take me b i t c h e s elsewhere...


    As long as your b i t c h e s leave my girls alone - baaaaah - they would be welcome any time - dogs or owners on the lead???? [:D]

  13. Rather than have a blanket ban on dogs, I am just going to be stricter in future i.e. a contribution to the SPA per dog, maximum 1 dog per apartment, extra 50 euros on the caution, no dogs to be left on the premises alone, dogs to be supervised at all times, pick up your poop (bags provided!) - none of these should be a problem for responsible dog owners.  I think we were just unlucky, but at least it has made us think a bit more - not all dogs are as well-behaved as our old boy.  (Also going to add a clause to the T&C's about the essential nature of sheets - either theirs or mine!)

    Still not sure about the big log fire in July though!  Maybe they thought it was romantic - it certainly heated us up nicely [:D]

    Feeling a bit more relaxed now (helped along by a few glasses of Riesling (Alsatian of course!) - thanks for all support and sympathy.


  14. Because we have a dog, it seems hypocritical to refuse other dogs.  But mine is an elderly springer with all the aggressive tendencies of a chocolate mousse.  The majority of our guests are French/Belgian/Dutch/German and they seem to expect their companions to be welcome.  We have had other dogs here and had no problems at all.

    I did keep some of the deposit for the window repair though.

    They were only here for 2 nights - don't know how they managed to cause such carnage!  I'm going to be charitable and blame their relative youth or I'll get all bitter and twisted.....


  15. This is just me letting off steam - I need to rant a little!

    Nightmare evening last night! Very young French guests

    (?early 20s) - 2 couples + 2 lab type dogs. Have already had words about smoking

    in the gite (strictly non). When they arrived, I informed them we had two

    sheep lawnmowers - "that's OK, the dogs are tres gentil and we will supervise them - pah). Btw,

    had to keep reminding them to pick up les crottes. They were in the

    apartment which does not open into the garden direct (- however they

    just let the dogs into the garden unsupervised despite earlier assurances...)

    Much crashing and

    banging around 1130 last night - the other set of guests (3 German veterinary students -

    will have to get them thank you gift or dish out vast aperos) knocking on the door -

    the dogs have been chasing the sheep, the sheep have panicked and

    JUMPED THROUGH A GLASS WINDOW, fallen a couple of feet and landed in the shed. The

    vets had the wit to shut the shed door so the sheep could calm down.

    The dog owners ran around like things possessed shouting and screaming

    - just wound up the dogs more. Finally got rid of dogs. Sheep appeared OK

    (apart from being terrified). I went to see the French group, told them

    sheep appeared OK, but I would check them over properly in morning. (they are fine - a couple of little scrapes but nothing terrible).  One of the French party informs me that if they knew we had sheep they

    would have supervised the dogs more
    [:'(] And why couldn't they have the apartment that opens directly into the

    garden (it was already reserved by students anyway - and its kept animal free

    for good reason - allergy ridden family and friends).

    Adding insult to injury - for some bizarre reason they lit a

    massive log fire (it's July and even though not tropical, around 20 degrees here) - they had left all the

    vents open, about 6 large logs burning, flames and sparks shooting up the chimney, chimney breast in my apartment (above theirs) scorching - possible danger of chimney fire

    - couldn't  go to bed until it cooled down.  First hefty g&t taken (strictly medicinal of course). 

    Got to bed around 0300.  Not in the best of moods this morning.

    They've gone now. They wouldn't pay for sheets, but it seems they didn't bring any either so I have to wash and dry all the bedding before tomorrow when the next lot of visitors arrive.  Had to leave every window open and got through several vats of Febreze and it's ilk to get rid of the smell of smoke.  They left their rubbish in the kitchen bin (in fairness though they left the floors/bathroom/kitchen etc immaculate), and some rather suspect "offerings" under the beds [+o(]

    Perhaps I should start charging a minimum of

    25 euros per hound - and 30 euros per crotte picked up by moi - and

    1000 euros for psychiatric treatment pour mes moutons! Can anyone

    translate that into French please????   Or at least have a 10 euro/creature "contribution" to the SPA, and increase the caution for doggy parties...

    I want to go on holiday.


  16. We had a nice hedge of it growing all over a bank and screening the sitting area of one of the gites from the road - until Mr "Ive got a new hedge trimming device on my tractor and I'm going to use it everywhere" came along and marmolised it.   Why?  It was growing 2 metres above the road, it wasn't blocking any sight lines -  it has been suggested I put a load of big rocks at the bottom of the bank so they can't get close enough to cut it, but that seem draconian, and a bit unfair on those of us who don't like playing chicken with a tractor.

    Still, if it is such a complete hooligan, it'll probably recover pdq.[:)]

  17. [quote user="teapot"]Go on Fi, start a new thread on guide manuals [I] [:)][/quote]

    Do I have to?  It could start a war......[:D]

    Maricopa - thanks for the link (sorry I haven't done this before) - pretty much perfect!  Now all I've got to do is find a nice kind French person to read the French version and point out any howlers...


  18. [quote user="NormanH"]Then we will be virtual friends!

    Seriously I have loads of materiel and links that could help you. don't hesitate to ask [:D]


    You may regret this![:)]  Thanks in advance - I think I will need lots of information - the problem from taking stuff straight from the wonderweb is ascertaining it's validity/veracity.  You know what they say - if it's in wikipedia, treat with extreme caution....


  19. My problem isn't really with the search terms to use (in fact I was looking for any previous threads about welcome guides/house rules that kind of thing) it is more with selecting specific forums (fora I s'pose!) to search.  From the advanced search screen, I found it impossible to select specific forums to search, it would only search everything so I got a lot of irrelevant stuff from, for example, home improvements.


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